Time to Stop Trapping Low-Income Students in Failing Schools
We are lucky enough to live in a country where we have the latitude to make choices in almost every arena of our lives. Yet when it comes to one of the most important aspects of a child’s upbringing—education –parents are too often offered frustratingly few choices. Our broken public education system can leave low-income students and parents with no alternatives to find a quality education.
Happily, Georgia approved a monumental amendment to our state’s constitution last year, creating a commission that has the power to approve charter schools hoping to open their doors across our state. But we can do more in Georgia and across the country. That’s why more than 2,500 students, teachers, parents and activists rallied on the steps of the capitol in Atlanta last Thursday, in honor of National School Choice Week. They celebrated all the educational options out there, from public schools to charter schools to private schools or even home schooling, like I did with my four kids.
In Atlanta and across the country, we are beginning to see school choice and educational freedom become a bipartisan issue. In fact, I believe it is a civil rights issue that we make sure that low-income or inner city students are not trapped in situations that won’t allow them to achieve their potential. For example, federal government reports show that Georgia students who were eligible for free or discounted school lunches in 2011, an indicator of low family income, performed 22 points lower than other students in the public school system. It is unconscionable that while the most fortunate families among us can send their children to alternative, private schools, lower-income kids are left behind.
Read more in the Macon Tribune later this week!